The big shrink?

There’s a dramatic piece in the FT today by Robin Wigglesworth setting out a very bleak picture of the prospects for the US retail sector.  Some memorable figures are quoted.

PwC estimates that there is about 24 sq ft of retailing floorspace per person in the US, compared with 11 sq ft in Australia — the only other developed country that comes close to the US — and between 2 and 5 sq ft in Europe…

Goldman Sachs estimates that ecommerce companies only require 0.9 employees per $1m of sales compared with 3.5 for a bricks-and-mortar store, 

There’s a strange contrast between the apocalyptic tone of the FT article and the fact that the ULI Consensus Forecasts for retail rental growth in the US is 2% per annum for the next three years.  It’s also worth noting that availability rates in the US retail sector have been shrinking for the last three years.  Can both be right?

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